Historian: Martin Acaster (Doctor_Smarty)
Last Update: 2016-02-16
At first listen, “Weigh” is a disturbing look inside the brain of an obsessive-compulsive stalker. An individual somewhat more twisted than the character portrayed in The Police classic “Every Breath You Take.”
Rather than simply following, watching, pining for his beloved, the psycho in “Weigh” is having thoughts of removing vital body parts to weigh them, and sneaking into the object of his stray meandering notions, the tune is as schizophrenic as he who is weighing his options. Indeed, Mike wrote the tune while a student at a summer guitar workshop, where his teacher told him it wasn’t a good melody because it had “too many jumps.”
The live version of “Weigh” rarely departs from the studio version of the song first released in 1993 on the “concept” album Rift. As evidence, the reader is directed to the live release of the song on the 1997 release Slip, Stitch and Pass. A little funkier perhaps, but what song in 1997 wasn’t? “Weigh” is a relative rarity live, having been played on only a few dozen occasions since 1992, with over half of those performances appearing in 1992 and 1993 setlists.
Live versions of “Weigh” which require listening are those which were played in “must hear” shows such as 4/21/92 Eureka, CA, 12/30/93 CCCC, 11/7/96 Lexington, KY, and 3/1/97 Hamburg, Germany. The only 1998 “Weigh” (8/2/98 Deer Creek) approached improvisational experimentation in a funkytonk breakdown style of mini-jam. The scales were then put away for 200 shows, finally being pulled off the shelf on 12/30/03 in Miami, perhaps to “Weigh” the bouncing baby new year following its emergence from the “NICU.”
Although it may have participated in the delivery of baby new year 2004, "Weigh" was entirely absent from Phish performances in 2004. A heavy thought, but perhaps Mike would have been unable to deliver the line about cutting somebody's head off, without actually fulfilling this desire during those dark times. With balance once again returned to the band, "Weigh" made a single appearance in both 2009 and 2010 (11/29/09 at the C4 in Portland, Maine, and 12/31/10 at MSG). With the exception of 2014 (perhaps in observation of the 10th anniversary of it going M.I.A. in 2004?) “Weigh” has returned once each year since. Of these four scalar weaponry deployments, the 8/9/15 Alpine Valley version is the most unbalanced and adventurous, but begs the question “Why WOO on a sunny day?”
"Weigh" – 8/9/15, East Troy, WI